By Galion City Schools

The safety and well-being of our students have always been the top priorities for Galion City Schools, and the focus on our students’ welfare includes their mental health. One in five students has had a mental health disorder in their life, with 50% of mental illnesses beginning at age 14. 

To aid our teachers, staff, students and families in recognizing and treating mental health issues, Galion Schools is participating in an international education program called Youth Mental Health First Aid. Teachers at Galion High School recently received training in how to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

Studies have shown that adults who participate in Mental Health First Aid training grow their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions. Participants have also been able to better identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental health or substance use challenge, increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress and have shown increased mental wellness themselves.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

Galion High School juniors will also be able to participate in teen Mental Health First Aid training in late October. This training is aimed at helping students apply the tools in interactions with their peers. Participants will be able to recognize common signs and symptoms of mental illness, symptoms of substance use and symptoms of a mental health crisis, particularly suicide. Students will also learn how to open the conversation about mental illnesses and addiction with friends, the impact of school violence and bullying on mental health and how to seek the help of a responsible and trusted adult.

At Galion City Schools, we are committed to providing a learning environment that is safe, secure and healthy for all our students. Participating in Mental Health First Aid training will give our district the tools we need to better provide the environment our students deserve.

Photo: Galion Schools